Building a Fan Base: You’re Doing it Wrong



Not to be harsh but, really, this will not net you results. What will? Build real relationships with other musicians you admire. Play gigs with them if your compatible, comparable and on or near the same level in your careers. Or, share ideas. At the very least, get to know them first. Other musicians don’t exist to promote you. Of course, we all appreciate it if you are a musician who likes our music and shares it with your fans. I share the music of musicians I like with my fans because I like them and not because I owe them one for liking my page. That’s not what a fan is. And, trust me, you don’t want fans who are only “fanning” you out of obligation. You want fans who truly admire your work. 

So, go ahead. Introduce yourself. Even invite musicians to listen to your work or tell them about your projects. That’s awesome. But, the above…is just silly. 

Bands: Social Networking No-No’s #1

In no particular order, really. There are many. But, in the interest of time and space, I’m going to attack them as they come up and their was an onslaught this weekend so, here goes: 


No-No Number 1:

Putting people on your email list who have not given you permission to do so. 

Here are a list of reasons you might think give you permission to put someone on your email list. 

1) You are related

2) You went to school or work together

3) You met at a show

4) You have their business card

5) You are connected via social networks 

6) They bought a CD or complimented your music

7) You went to the same conference and your email was listed in the directory

8) You belong to the same club or organization

9) You like their music and think they might be interested in yours

10) You, at one time, corresponded via email about something (who knows what) and they are in your address book. 

If you think these are valid reasons to put someone on your e-mail newsletter list, sorry, wrong. The only one that comes close would be # 6 IF they bought your CD online. But, no. The most appropriate thing would be a follow up email thanking them for their purchase and giving them the option to opt into your list but not actually putting them on it until you have their say so.

“But, then my list won’t be as big!” No, no it won’t but, your list is best when it’s targeted to your most loyal fans and even they won’t read everything you put out. And, it’s not just an issue of quality over quantity, it’s an issue of not getting into that dreaded SPAM ZONE. I can’t tell you the number of bands…um… AND BUSINESSES…who put me on their list without permission and now, the biggest thing I remember about them is that they are annoying. Hey, as a musician, if someone labels me as annoying I want it to be because they honestly gave me a shot and found me annoying, then decided to opt out. 🙂

“WTH? Who died and made you Ms. Manners?” No one, really, as far as I know. I say this as a musician and as a fan of musicians whose mailing lists I’m already purposely on. You do yourself NO FAVORS by putting people on your list who never asked to be there. It works against you. There is so much spam out there that I can’t imagine anyone opening up an unsolicited email each day, week or month from a band they know nothing about and saying, “Who’s this? Well, that was thoughtful!”. Trust me, you already have people who opted onto your lists who 1) delete your email as soon as they see it, 2) want to opt out but know you well and don’t want to hurt your feelings 3) forgot that they opted in at all and will mark you as spam next time your email is in their inbox 4) opted in for whatever you were giving away for free to signup but don’t really care what you’re up to.  

So, what are your options: ASK! If someone compliments your music at a show or anywhere say, “Can I put you on the list so I can keep in touch?”, “Can I put you on the list so you’ll be eligible for free giveaways?” or “Get on the email list so I can let you know when I’m playing near you!” Ask people to sign up at your shows, make it easy for them to do so in person and online (Yeah, yeah, Margaret…I know what you’re thinking  —  Sometimes, even I forget), then,  email them asap with a ‘welcome to the list email’ so they don’t forget they opted in. 


The guideline: The word “YES” or “Put me on your list!” to any of the above offers to put someone on your list. 


For the love of Daphne, please repost this for bands and businesses. 


Next blog up: Accepting credit cards for merch sales! It just got easier 😉


 – LM